The US Department of Education just released the results from the Program for the International Assessment of Adult Competencies (PIAAC), and they are perilously disappointing.
PIAAC is a cyclical, large-scale study of adult skills and life experiences focusing on education and employment. Nationally representative samples of adults between the ages of 16 and 65 are administered an assessment of literacy, numeracy, and problem solving in technology rich environments, as well as survey questions about their educational background, work history, the skills they use on the job and at home, their civic engagement, and sense of their health and well-being. The results are used to compare participating countries on the skills capacities of their workforce-aged adults and to learn more about relationships between educational background and employment and other outcomes.
When comparing the most recent results of US adults and those in other countries, America looks terrible.
In spite of being only one quarter the size of them, the United States spends nearly the same amount of money on video games as China. One would think since Americans spend tens of billions annually on video games, they would naturally be technologically savvy. However, the results of the PIAAC study show that is simply not the case. In fact, the average American citizen comes in dead last for being able to perform simple technological procedures.
“Clearly, we have some work to do in this country,” says Peggy Carr, the acting commissioner of the government’s National Center for Education Statistics.
When it comes to basic technological skills like using email, buying and returning items online, using a drop-down menu, naming a file on a computer or sending a text message — Americans rank dead last.
But it’s not just daily technology tasks that Americans fail at accomplishing, they also scored terribly in math and literacy.
According to the study, Americans with a high school diploma performed about the same as high school dropouts in other countries.
So what’s the problem? Is it lack of spending in the education department? No.
The United States spends more money on education than any other country in the world, yet the average high school graduate can’t even compete with dropouts in other countries. In spite of the ever increasing DOE expenditures, US students continue to trail their rivals on international standards tests.
“We need to think seriously about how to get them functioning better,” says Carr.
However, no matter how much money and time the bureaucrats in D.C. throw at education, and no matter how many times they “revolutionize learning” (i.e. common core) that function is more of the same — ignorance.
Imagine what will happen when Americans get “Free College,” as promised by so many politicians. What good is free college if graduates get out and can’t even tie their own shoes?
Is any of this really a surprise to anyone, though? Just last month, the writer of the hit comedy Idiocracy, Etan Cohen announced that his fictional movie turned out to be a documentary, and he’s right.
It seems that public schools these days are little more than factories to reiterate the state’s version of events and stoke an extraordinary amount of cognitive dissonance. Without being able to hold two contradictory thoughts as the truth, how else could Americans continue to refer to this geographical region as The Land of the Free?
State sanctioned deprivation of rights, liberty, and life, is that what we call “Freedom” these days?
Sadly, when people do begin to question this paradigm of declining education and the state’s usurpation of freedom, blame is quickly associated and directed toward whichever corporate puppet is in charge. American then just go back to sleep — resolute in the notion that they can vote those bastards out, and it will all be fixed.
Boobus Americanus then slips back into la la land, cheering on the increasingly ignorant police state as if they are fans on a football stadium sideline. “My team is winning! USA! USA! USA!”
But your team is not winning, Boobus!
Just for a moment, can we stop chanting that “USA is number one”?
Can we remove the patriotic blinders for a moment and take a look at the categories in which we are actually number one? Because it’s certainly not education and definitely not freedom.
According to the 2014 Legatum Prosperity Index released last November, in the measure of personal freedom, the United States has fallen from 9th place in 2010 to 21st worldwide—behind such countries as Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Uruguay and Costa Rica.
Other such rankings systems show the US as low as 46. Yet somehow, Americans still believe their leaders when they say that terrorists “hate our freedom,” as if the ‘terrorists’ took down the first 45 freest countries and are just now getting to us!
No, we are most assuredly not number one in freedom nor education.
But, we are, however, number 1 in the following:
- Prison Population
- Child Abuse Death Rate
- Hours spent in front of the Television
- Teen Pregnancy Rate
- Prescription Drug Use
- Citizens Killed by police
- Arbitrary, Immoral and downright evil laws
So, next time your chest begins to fill with patriotic puff, stop for a second and realize that Americans are number one, but in such a bad way.
In the meantime, however, we still have the freedom in this country to inform ourselves and others. Only through a lesser ignorance will this massive dumbing down of citizens be curbed.
Please share this information with your friends and family so that Americans can see that the government’s answer of throwing more and more money into the failed department of education is not the answer. Personal responsibility, desire for knowledge, and respect for your fellow human — these are the things that prevent such a tyrannical level of ignorance.